St Louis is known for being the gateway to westward exploration, the home of Blues music and its unique mix of midwest and southern culture.
St Louis is one of the largest cities in Missouri. Located along the Mississippi River, where Missouri meets Illinois, St Louis is famous for being the gateway of America’s westward expansion. Although this city is steeped in history, there are many other things St Louis is known for.
What Is St Louis Known For?
t Louis was where Lewis and Clark began their exploratory journey westward, following the Louisiana Purchase. It was also the home of the first Olympic games in the United States and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which allegedly was the birthplace of the ice cream cone! Finally, there is a lot of food St Louis is known for, from St Louis-style barbeque to toasted ravioli.
Visit this city to see iconic St Louis landmarks, enjoy the arts culture, and history, as well as the famous St Louis food! Make sure you stop by this fun city!
History, Culture, And Traditions St Louis Is Known For
Lewis and Clark’s Expedition
St Louis, Missouri is known for being the starting point of Lewis and Clark’s famous exploration! When Meriweather Lewis and William Clark set out to explore the West, this is exactly where the adventure began. This is why the Gateway Arch, commemorating this journey, is one of the landmarks of St. Louis!
Lewis and Clark left St Louis on May 14, 1804 and headed west. They made it to the Pacific Ocean a little over a year later, cataloging animals, plants, and other information as they went. After traveling nearly 8,000 miles, the famous pair returned to St Louis in 1806.
Although Lewis and Clark were not born in St Louis, they have such a strong connection to the city that most people count them among the famous people from St Louis. It is also one of the key historical facts about Missouri.
1904 World’s Fair
Also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the 1904 World’s Fair is an event St Louis is famous for. It was an international exposition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Forest Park, a beautiful, urban park that still exists today, was the main location for the Fair.
The 1904 World’s Fair brought lots of visitors to the city. The city constructed almost 1,500 buildings to accommodate the influx of nearly 20 million people.
That said, the World’s Fair helped reinvent St Louis; in fact, in the same year, St Louis was the first American city to host the Olympic Games.
The “Home of Blues”
The Mississippi River created a perfect way to bring blues musicians to St Louis. Their style mixed with the popular ragtime style, and blues music became part of what St Louis is known for. It’s no wonder many famous people from St Louis are blues musicians, such as Floyd Smith, Chuck Berry, and Eva Taylor.
If you really want to explore the Blues history of St Louis, definitely check out the National Blues Museum! You can even get into the music, by recording a blues record in the museum. This St Louis landmark is also a recording studio!
St Louis is famous for its wide-ranging arts support and interest, from art museums and festivals to world-class music.
The St Louis Art Museum’s collection has over 2,500 things, ranging 5,000 years of history and several mediums. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the Contemporary Art Museum of St Louis, which does not have a permanent collection and allows its curators to bring special shows to the museum.
As you can imagine, music is a huge deal in St Louis. Although St Louis is known for its Blues music, it also has its own symphony that offers concerts and educational programs. No matter what art you’re interested in, St Louis has it for you!
St Louis Cardinals
Any baseball fan will know the St Louis Cardinals! This National League baseball team was founded in 1882, as the Brown Stockings and later the Browns. Since the team’s founding, they’ve won 11 World Series titles, as well as 23 league pennants.
The team has carried the name, the Cardinals, since just before 1900. Legend says that when the team started to play under the name “the Perfectos” in their characteristic red, a journalist, Willie McHale, called it a “lovely shade of cardinal” and started to use the name in his columns. The fans took it from there!
In addition to their many wins, the St Louis Cardinals have produced many famous players, such as Stan Musial, Ozzie Smith, and Bob Gibson.
Districts And Areas St Louis Is Known For
Central West End
For a luxury neighborhood with lush, green walkways, visit Central West End! The historic streets of Central West end sport historic light posts, homes, and shady streets. Some of these beautiful homes date back to the famous 1904 World’s Fair; they are still very well-kept and fun to look at during a walk.
There is plenty to do in this neighborhood – check out Forest Park or the University of Saint Louis! Visit the World Chess Hall of Fame and play with the enormous chess set outside. You can also take it easy and enjoy a nice meal; whether you’re looking for an ice cream cone or famous St Louis food, you can find it in the Central West End.
Downtown West in St Louis is known for its lively atmosphere. With the St Louis Blues, City Museum, and World Aquarium, there’s plenty to do in this neighborhood. This section of downtown is a great place to go out, with tons of bars, coffee spots, and restaurants.
If you prefer to enjoy the scenery, Downtown West is full of historic architecture and buildings. Check out Union Station, previously a bustling train station that is now a shopping and dining destination!
Looking for a fun place to catch a show or grab a bite to eat? Delmar Loop is the right neighborhood for you! With a surprising blend of cuisines, from Mexican to Koreana, BBQ to pizza, and so much more, Delmar Loop has something delicious for any palette!
Catch a show at the Pageant or Delmar Hall, located right next to one another. While you’re walking around, you can also get a look at the St Louis Walk of fame, which features many famous people from St Louis. Make sure you get a photo with your favorite star’s star, whether it be Maya Angelou, Betty Grable, or someone else.
If you think New York’s Central Park is huge, just wait until you see Forest Park, which St Louis is famous for. This park is approximately 1,300 acres and receives over 12 million visitors every year. Whether you want to wander on foot or hit the trails on a bike, Forest Park is a not-to-miss destination on any St Louis itinerary.
Forest Park also holds several landmarks of St Louis. As you wander through Forest Park, you can visit the St Louis Art Museum, the Steinberg Skating Rink, the Muny Opera, and many other sites. Forest Park literally has something for everyone!
Missouri Botanical Garden
If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a great option! As a National Historic Landmark and the oldest botanical garden in the US that has been open continuously, the Missouri Botanical Garden is certainly part of what St Louis is known for.
Within its nearly 80 acre preserve inside the city, the Garden is a great place to spend the day.
From the Japanese-strolling garden and rotating shows on flora and fauna, the Missouri Botanical Garden has over 7,500 plants. Whether you want to enjoy the historic architecture or the natural wonders, you won’t regret visiting this historic garden.
Landmarks And Architecture St Louis Is Known For
The Gateway Arch
If you ask anyone “what is St Louis famous for?”, they’ll likely mention the Gateway Arch. The impressive Gateway Arch is arguably the most recognizable landmark in Missouri even.
Introduced in 1965, the monument commemorates St Louis’ role as America’s “Gateway to the West.” After the Louisiana Purchase, St Louis was the kick-off point for exploration and expansion in the west.
Visiting the Gateway Arch is a great way to get a view of the skyline St Louis is known for. Visitors can use the elevator inside to ride up to an observation platform at the top. While you’re there, you can also explore the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Complex and the associated museum.
This architectural playground is a unique feature St Louis is famous for! This museum reuses architectural elements and industrial objects to create an interactive museum. The City Museum has won several awards and is touted as a must-see museum!
Enjoy the weird and wonderful mix of architecture, sitting in the former International Shoe building. Although there are many permanent exhibits, you can also expect seasonal shows. If you have kids in tow (or just want to feel like a kid again), make sure you add this to your wishlist of St Louis landmarks.
Cathedral Basilica Of St Louis
If you’re a fan of the arts, you should check out the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis. The basilica itself is a combination of Neo-Byzantine and Romanesque revival architecture that is stunning. The impressive glass tesserae mosaic is the most famous piece in the Basilica – with over 40 million glass pieces!
However, there’s more to see. The Cathedral Basilica of St Louis has the world’s largest collection of mosaics. And if that isn’t enough for you, you can head into the basement to check out additional artifacts in the Basilica’s collection.
It comes as no surprise that this is one of the main religious landmarks that St Louis is known for.
Busch Stadium is one of America’s iconic baseball stadiums, as the home of the St Louis Cardinals! Despite having a seating capacity of over 44,000, the stadium can be packed to the brim with fans.
With great views of the St Louis skyline, including the iconic Gateway Arch, you can enjoy both the baseball and the scenery!
If you don’t have the chance to catch a game, you can still tour the stadium. You can take a tour of Busch Stadium throughout the year, and it will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium.
Anheuser-Busch is the oldest and largest brewery in the country; it also happens to be one of the things St Louis is famous for!
When Anheuser-Busch was founded in the 1850’s, it was a neighborhood brewery. Now this brewery has been in operation for over 1000 years, and it’s a National Historic Landmark!
The brewery still offers walking tours, which include an overview of the brewing process, a beer tasting, and a greeting with the Clydesdale horses. If you want a more in-depth tour, check the schedule and book an in-depth session! Make sure you don’t miss out on this St Louis landmark and a nice, cold beer from the place it was born.
Food St Louis Is Known For
St Louis-Style Barbeque
St Louis-Style Barbeque isn’t exactly “barbeque” as you might imagine it. They are spare ribs, generally generously covered with sauce, that are grilled, as opposed to the slow-cooking technique normally associated with barbeque. These ribs also have a special St Louis style cut, which gives meatier ribs than the usual cut.
There are reviews out there to help you navigate restaurants, but you can’t go wrong with Pappy’s Smokehouse or Bogart’s Smokehouse. If St Louis barbeque isn’t your speed, you can enjoy the fixin’s that are also notable. Try the pulled pork, pork steaks, or cole slaw, if you don’t feel like spare ribs!
If you hear someone talking about “T-Ravs,” you’ll know they’re talking about the famous St Louis food. Toasted ravioli are the classic raviolis you know, breaded and deep-fried, often served with dipping sauce. Legend says a drunken chef accidentally dropped a ravioli in the deep-fryer.
Two restaurants in the primarily Italian “The Hill” Neighborhood take credit for the popularization of this dish, Mama Campisi’s and Charlie Gitto’s. You can still visit these restaurants and try T-Ravs where they were popularized. Make sure you give them a try – you won’t regret it!
St Louis-Style Pizza
If you’re craving ultra-thin pizza, St Louis-Style pizza is for you! St Louis is known for its pizza, which is made without yeast in the crust. This produces a crispy, cracker-like crust on this famous St Louis food. St Louis pizza also features Provel, as opposed to the usual mozzarella, and is cut into squares.
While you can order a St Louis-Style pizza throughout the city, locals will tell you Imo’s Pizza and Cecil Whittaker’s Pizza are two classic places to go. If you want to get a little crazy, explore new pizza toppings!
Regardless, be sure to give it a try as it is one of the most popular foods in Missouri.
Famous People From St Louis
One of the most famous people from St Louis is the notable writer, T.S. Eliot.
Born in St Louis in 1888, T.S. Eliot spent his childhood in St Louis and developed his love for literature at an early age. His most renowned works are “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and The Waste Land.
In 1948, T.S. Eliot won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his contribution to poetry and literature more broadly. Though he spent most of his career in England, T.S. Eliot credited his hometown as part of his inspiration, linking his creativity to the Mississippi River. It’s no wonder this writer is someone St Louis is known for.
Although St Louis is known as the “Home of Blues,” it is also home to rock and roll legend, Chuck Berry. He was born in 1962 in St Louis and learned from the city’s deep connections to rhythm and blues music. By 1955, he had signed with Chess Records and quickly rose to fame.
Some of his most notable tracks include “Maybellene”, “Rock and Roll Music” and “Johnny B. Goode.” Among many other accolades, Chuck Berry won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984 and is widely known as the “Father of Rock and Roll.” He is undoubtedly one of the most famous people from St Louis.
Discovering More Things St Louis Is Known And Famous For
When you visit this iconic city, make sure you try to experience everything St Louis is known for. From the lip-smacking good food to the famous landmarks, there’s a lot to enjoy in this city!
While you should hit these highlights of what St Louis is famous for, make sure you save some time for your own exploring! You are bound to discover more fascinating things and facts about St Louis, Missouri.